What is it about?

The historical narrative that is woven into this study about structural models of psychopathology traces recurring themes of the century-old general factor debate to caution readers against the development of theories on the basis of a single factor analytic solution.

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Why is it important?

Confirmatory factor analysis is the most popular method in model comparison studies involving bifactor structures of psychological constructs. However, notable pitfalls are associated with myopic approaches to building and testing bifactor CFA models, which can distort results, limit generalizability, and impede theory development. The overarching aims of this study are to provide applied researchers with a conceptually clear roadmap for evaluating latent factor structures, present a comprehensive accounting of theoretical and methodological challenges that arise in both confirmatory and exploratory factor analytic scenarios, and highlight the benefits of their combined use.


Exploratory factor analysis can be used to help identify problems with confirmatory factor models. The bifactor structures evaluated herein were found to take many forms and therefore many meanings, resembling a hall of mirrors.

Dr. Ashley L. Greene
James J. Peters VA Medical Center

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Misbegotten methodologies and forgotten lessons from Tom Swift’s electric factor analysis machine: A demonstration with competing structural models of psychopathology., Psychological Methods, January 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/met0000465.
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